Tuesday, April 5, 2016

RTDNA Research: What Stations Are Doing Online

Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) has released research that shows radio and television stations are expanding their online offerings, as they seek to attract larger audiences for web content and broadcast newscasts.

Bob Papper, Professor Emeritus - Hofstra University writes the latest RTDNA survey of newsrooms demonstrates a priority for more and better web content, with more than three-quarters of TV news directors and nearly half of radio news directors launching new online initiatives in the past year.

In radio, the percentage saying they started something important online in 2015 held steady with a year ago at 47%.  Almost two-thirds of non-commercial stations said they started something new, while just 42% of commercial stations said the same.  The bigger the market and the bigger the news department, the more likely that the station said it started something new online.

This year, more than a hundred radio news directors and general managers explained what they did. The challenge, of course, is to convert those answers into a cogent summary.
  • Nearly half (48.6%) mentioned something related to content in terms of what was new.  The list included video; in-depth stories; keeping content fresher; posting more, more often and with better stories; more specialized reporting, including government, science, weather and sports; special weekly web-only programs and content; more on-demand newscasts and news; data visualization; more live streaming; more specialty content areas.
  • Technical issues came in at 21.5%.  That included things like making the website more user friendly; integrating the website with mobile; enhancing the mobile experience; and redesigning the website.
  •  Social media-related things came in at 18.7%.  That included more and better postings on Facebook; posting more pictures on Facebook and Twitter; better use of Twitter and Instagram; more texting; hiring a social media person; and just increasing the use of social media. 
For the fifth year in a row, Papper didn't find a single TV station (that runs local news) that doesn't have a website.  Radio still hasn't hit 100%, although it continues to edge toward that.  All of the stations without web sites were commercial stations with a staff of one, and all but one were in the smallest markets (fewer than 50,000 people).

After a slight overall drop in the complexity of radio websites last year, radio was mostly unchanged this time around.  Only a couple things went down, but almost nothing fell by more than a point.  The biggest changes came in blogs (up 11.1) and user generated content (up 9.7).  Recorded newscasts, event calendar and streaming audio all rose by about seven and a half points.  Mobile-related went up by almost 7.

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